It's 50 years this week since The Who played at Lancaster University - but was it The Ramones or The Clash that broke an antique harpsichord?

The Who took to the stage in Lancaster University's Great Hall on May 15 1970 - kicking off 15 years of some of the world's greatest artists performing in the city.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 7:00 am

Then social secretary of Lonsdale College - Barry Lucas remembers the gig well, although, some of the details have only recently come to light.

The young student pooled his budget with Gas Taylor, social secretary of the uni's Bowland College, and booked The Who for three times more than had ever been paid to a band performing in Lancaster.

"Two, wet behind the ears, 18-year-olds, and their first ever booking," Barry recalls.

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Barry Lucas in the Great Hall at Lancaster University

"The Politicos went crazy, believing we were going to bankrupt the student body.

They tried to stop us but we just managed to get the signed contracts in the post box in Alexandra Square before they could ‘arrest’ us.

"In an act of defiance we added Quintessence to the bill and then a third support act called Hammer."

In the subsequent 14 years Lancaster hosted around 800 acts, many of them iconic figures in rock’s history.

The Stranglers at Lancaster University.

Black Sabbath, Free, Wishbone Ash, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, T Rex, Traffic, The Pretenders, The Ramones, U2, OMD, The Human League, Tina Turner, New Order, Velvet Underground, Chuck Berry, Paul McCartney, Ravi Shankar, Roxy Music, Bob Marley, Genesis, Status Quo, Bad Company, Queen, 10CC, AC DC, Eric Clapton, Blondie, Nils Lofgren, Thin Lizzy, Boomtown Rats, The Jam, Lynard Skynard, The Clash, Van Morrison and Dire Straits all played in The Great Hall during the 70s and 80s.

But how on earth did it happen?

"Even as I write those names, and recall the countless other world superstars listed in ‘When Rock Went To College’, I cannot really believe it happened - and I booked them all," Barry said.

Much of the detail is charted in Barry's book When Rock Went to College: Legends Live at Lancaster University, 1969-1985, which came out in 2017.

Barry Lucas and Paul Tomlinson.

The book sold all over the world from Canada and the USA to China and Australia.

It was sought out by many in the music business who wished to have a record of the time.

Artists like Paul McCartney, ACDC, and Andy Powell, through promoters, agents and major record companies all bought copies.

Since then, Barry, along with Paul Tomlinson, has created a second edition with new stories, photos and posters.

The Clash at Lancaster University.

Barry said: "It was amazing, and a bit scary, that some stories I had recounted in numerous bars and at countless dinner parties - had not been true.

"Luckily the new edition meant that I could make corrections.

"The third support act to The Who I always insisted was Amazing Blondel but when Robb Winn, the agent responsible for booking The Who, contacted me from his Florida home, he confirmed it was in fact a little Hull rock band called Hammer.

"I had totally forgotten. Robb said the keyboard player was a pain in the butt and the band broke up a couple of years later.

"However, the keyboard player ended up in the US, became a renowned songwriter for George Benson and Michael Jackson (including Thriller and Rock with You) and won a Grammy for his work with Quincy Jones.

"The other major apology was to The Ramones who I blamed for damaging the music studio and an antique harpsichord.

"Well, after 40 years Geoff Campbell told me the real culprits - The Clash.

"I suppose it actually fits their image better anyway!"

When Rock Went To College is available via Carnegie Publishing.